A Season of Craft is coming to WA, thanks to Lotterywest

MEDIA RELEASE: 23 February 2021 (updated 31 March 2021)

The inaugural ‘IOTA21: Indian Ocean Craft Triennial’ is expanding to a state-wide festival thanks to the support of Lotterywest. In celebration of contemporary craft and our place on the coast of the Indian Ocean, a program of exhibitions and events in Perth and across Western Australia will generate a spring season of craft.

The grant from Lotterywest will assist the coordination and promotion of the festival so members of the community can engage in the many stories associated with craft-making that infuse our everyday rituals, and that connect us across the ocean.

Jude van der Merwe, one of the six volunteer curators who founded the Craft Triennial, explains:

‘The original plan was to stage just one major exhibition to showcase examples of contemporary craft from around the Indian Ocean Rim. But once word spread to the wider art and craft community in WA, we were inundated with requests from galleries and craft groups who wanted to join in. The result is that we now have a festival of over 35 venues organising their own activities to complement and support two major exhibitions at John Curtin Gallery and Fremantle Arts Centre.’

Hand making and crafting of objects – for utility, adornment, daily rituals, shelter, worship and special occasions –have been part of our lives for millennia. These objects are the receptacles of culture, familial histories and integral to our everyday lives. The practices associated with crafting materials – such as clay, glass, fibre, wood and metal – are shared across cultures and offer avenues for communities to sit down and share in a common language.

Accelerating an already renewed global interest in the handmade, the lockdowns induced by the COVID-19 pandemic saw a surge in the uptake of home craft, providing comfort and connection for many.

‘The IOTA21: Indian Ocean Craft Triennial aims to honour the talents of skilled craftspeople who, fuelled by curiosity, constantly improve techniques to earn a living or find new ways of expressing our stories and culture. In celebrating the ingenuity of our hands and minds, this in turn aims to inspire us all, to create a relevant, viable and better future through craft.’

Lotterywest CEO Susan Hunt PSM said, ‘Our purpose is to build a better Western Australia together and thanks to our players we are able to raise the much-needed funds to support wonderful initiatives that bring communities together in positive activities, just like this state-wide festival – IOTA21: Indian Ocean Craft Triennial.

Jenny Haynes, Director of Mundaring Arts Centre, the IOTA21 auspice partner and also a participating venue, adds, ‘Many arts centres like ours had to cancel events in 2020 which would have provided important income-earning for artists and craft makers. The prospect of the Triennial is a wonderfully positive program to look forward to.’

The IOTA21 program will be launched on 20 May with exhibitions and activities taking place at various locations from September – November 2021.

Visit www.indianoceancrafttriennial.com  and follow @crafttriennial for more information.

Media enquiries: festival@indianoceancrafttriennial.com

Download a printable PDF of this Media Release.


Thursday 20 May 2021: Program Launch of the IOTA21 Key Artists and Festival events; City of Perth SLSC, City Beach, 9.30am for 10am start. RSVPs will be required and registration at the event with Safe WA app.


Thursday 9 September: VIP preview, IOTA21 exhibition at John Curtin Gallery.

Friday 17 September: IOTA21 Opening Celebration, Fremantle Arts Centre.

16-18 September: Futuring Craft Conference, Curtin University

Saturday 18 September (TBC): IOTA21 Fashion Event, Curtin University

REGIONS & VENUES (as of 15 February 2021)

Perth Metro (*key exhibition venues)

Art Gallery of Western Australia
Art Collective WA, Perth
Artitja Fine Art, EarlyWorks Fremantle
City of Melville/Wireless Hill
City of Melville/ Goolugatup Heathcote
City of Wanneroo
Ellenbrook Arts
*Fremantle Arts Centre
Gallery Central / North Metro TAFE
Gallery East, EarlyWorks Fremantle
Holmes à Court Gallery @no.10, West Perth
*John Curtin Gallery
Kidogo Arthouse, Fremantle
Midland Junction Arts Centre
Mossenson Galleries, Subiaco
Mundaring Arts Centre
Nyisztor Studio, Melville
Perth Studio Potters, Cottesloe
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle
Stala Contemporary/Jewellers & Metalsmiths Group of WA, West Perth
WA Museum – Boola Bardip

Regional Venues

Bunbury Regional Art Gallery
CASM: Contemporary Art Space Mandurah
Gallery 152, York
Geraldton Project / Geraldton Regional Gallery
Gwoonwardu Mia – Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre
Holmes à Court Gallery @ Cowaramup
Lost Eden Gallery, Dwellingup
Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
Southern Forest Arts, Northcliffe
Stirling St Arts Centre, Bunbury
The Junction Co / Courthouse Gallery, Port Hedland
WA Museum – Geraldton
WA Museum – Great Southern
York Festival


IOTA21: Indian Ocean Craft Triennial is supported by Lotterywest; and assisted by the State Government of Western Australia through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries; the Australian Government through the Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grants Program, the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian ASEAN Council; exhibition partners John Curtin Gallery and Fremantle Arts Centre; and festival partner Mundaring Arts Centre.

Project partners include Brikmakers, Garland magazine, World Crafts Council – Australia, Museum of Freedom & Tolerance.